Devon Energy (DVN - Get Report) said Monday it agreed to sell $1 billion worth of non-core oil and gas properties to undisclosed parties for nearly $1 billion, part of its plan to pay down its debt load and boost growth.

The properties are in east Texas, Texas' and Oklahoma's Anadarko Basin and the northern part of West Texas' Midland Basin. Devon hopes to close the sales in the third quarter, incurring minimal taxes.

The news sent Devon's shares up 3.56% in pre-market trading to $37.20 after they slid 2.4% on Friday to close at $35.92.

Devon CEO Dave Hager said in a statement that the company has announced $1.3 billion worth of natural gas-focused divestitures out of a goal of $2 billion to $3 billion this year.  "As we've said previously, proceeds from these tax-efficient transactions will be utilized to further strengthen our investment-grade financial position," he said.

Hager said oil prices have moved in the company's favor for selling its remaining non-core oil assets in the Midland Basin and its 50% stake in Canada's Access Pipeline, which he expects in the next several weeks.

The largest transaction in the sale is Devon's assets in east Texas for $525 million. The properties produced 22,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day in the first quarter, 5% of which was oil, and field-level cash flow excluding overheads costs of $10 million. The assets had proved reserves of 87 million barrel of oil equivalent at the end of last year.

Devon received $310 million for its properties in the Anadarko Basin's Granite Wash area, which produced 14,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter, 13% of which was oil. Those assets had field-level cash flow of $6 million in the first quarter and proved reserves of 31 million barrels of oil equivalent at the end of last year.

Devon's overriding royalty interest in 11,000 net acres in the northern Midland Basin fetched $139 million and produced 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. That transaction didn't include its working interest across 15,000 net acres in Martin County that are being marketed separately. Those assets produced 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter.

Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities said the sales of Devon's Granite Wash and Carthage assets in East Texas were in-line with its expectations while the surprise Midland asset sale provided "a nice kicker." They expect the Access stake will bring in $1 billion and the remaining oil and gas properties $750 million to $850 million.

In March TPH said asset sales were "mission critical" for Devon and other companies to make it through the downturn, citing its interest in the Access Pipeline and non-core oil and gas properties that could generate $1.8 billion in proceeds.

Seaport Global Securities said that Devon divesting of low margin, non-core properties that could cut $2 billion in net debt this year is a "winning strategy," noting that its sizable production base needs well above 10 rigs to offset declines and show a competitive growth trajectory.

Jefferies LLC advised Devon along with RBC Richardson Barr. Vinson & Elkins LLP provided outside legal counsel, including John B. Connally, Mingda Zhao, Shay Kuperman, Todd Way, Larry Nettles, Emery Choi, Elizabeth Bellows and Julia Pashin.